Current Members

Naydene Valencia

Naydene is a second-year graduate student at Chapman University receiving her Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and is a current research assistant for the CRANIAL Lab. Additionally, she is completing her master’s thesis in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University investigating emotional prosody deficits in individuals with Primary Progressive Aphasia. She received her Bachelor's degree from Biola University. Her career goals are to become a medical speech language pathologist working in an acute care hospital setting with medically complex patients. Naydene enjoys exercising and spending time with family in her free time.

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Merissa Valenzuela

Merissa is a second-year graduate student earning her Master’s of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Chapman University. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication Science and Disorders at the California State University of Los Angeles. Her career goals are to work as a medical SLP in a hospital. She is interested in working with individuals who have aphasia, and she is completing her capstone project with the Aphasia Caregiver Support Group.  

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Sarah Garcia

Sarah Garcia is a graduate student participating in the Aphasia Caregiver Support Group capstone project. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology from California State University, Long Beach.  She is currently working towards her Master's in Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Chapman University, Rinker Health Science Campus. 

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Rachel Blocker

Rachel is a second year MS student studying communicative sciences and disorders at Chapman University. She completed her bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders at California State University, Fullerton. She is interested in working with people with aphasia and in working with toddlers for early intervention. For her capstone project, she will be participating in the aphasia caregiver support group. In her free time, Rachel enjoys camping, cooking, and spending time with family.

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Devon Shinn

Devon is a second year graduate student pursuing her M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She received her B.S. degree in Kinesiology, Pre-Physical Therapy, from San Diego State University. She is interested in working with adults with neurological disorders in a private practice or hospital setting. She enjoys golfing and hiking in beautiful places.

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Emma Chen

Emma is a second year CSD graduate student at Chapman University. She completed her bachelor's degree in psychology at Chapman University. She is interested in aphasia recovery patterns and hopes to work with people with aphasia and those with traumatic brain injury in an outpatient setting. In her free time, she enjoys photography (specifically engagement and graduation photos!), cooking, and filming/video editing.

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Sarah Gausepohl

Sarah is a second-year MS student studying communication sciences and disorders at Chapman University. She completed her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at the University of Southern California. She is interested in working with the adult population in a hospital or private setting. She enjoys spending time outdoors in nature and hanging out with her friends and family.

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Sophie Kajfez

Sophie is a current research assistant of the CRANIAL Lab. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from San Diego State University. Her research interests broadly include underlying processes of language and cognition, language comprehension, and human neurophysiology. During her free time, Sophie enjoys traveling, exploring San Diego, and spending time with friends, family and dog.

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Collaborators

Argye Hillis, MD, MA

 

Director, Stroke Cognitive Outcomes and Recovery Lab (SCORE Lab) at Johns Hopkins University

 

Faculty Page: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/details/argye-hillis

Lab Website: https://score.jhmi.edu/index.html

 

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Erin Meier, PhD, CCC-SLP

Director, The Aphasia Network Lab (TAN Lab) at Northeastern University

 

Faculty Page: https://bouve.northeastern.edu/bchs/directory/erin-meier-ph-d-ccc-slp/

Lab Website: https://tanlab.sites.northeastern.edu/

 

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Susanne Nobles, PhD

Chief Academic Officer, ReadWorks

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Meet the Team

Lab Director

Dr. Shannon M. Sheppard is an Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Chapman University. Dr. Sheppard is the Director of the Cognition Rehabilitation And Neuroscience In Atypical Language Lab (CRANIAL LAB).

 

She received her PhD in Language & Communicative Disorders from the Joint Doctoral Program at University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship, and clinical fellowship in speech-language pathology, in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Dr. Argye Hillis’s Stroke Cognitive Outcomes and REcovery (SCORE) Lab.

 

Her research focuses on understanding the neural underpinnings of post-stroke aphasia, Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), and aprosodia to inform the development of innovative cutting-edge treatments.

Download Dr. Sheppard’s CV

 

Faculty Page: https://www.chapman.edu/our-faculty/shannon-sheppard

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Sofie Beier, PhD

Professor at Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts

Faculty Page: https://royaldanishacademy.com/employee/sofie-beier

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Recent Alumni

Lauren Yehuda, MS, CF-SLP

 

Lauren Yehuda recently graduated from Chapman University with a Master's of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is interested in working with school-age children and adults recovering from stroke. As a yoga instructor, Lauren is passionate about sharing information that can aid stroke prevention. She aims to continue researching the role that lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise, play in neurological disease prevention and recovery. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time outdoors, gardening, and traveling.

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Christa Maikisch, MS, CF-SLP 

 

Christa is a Clinical Fellow at a private practice in Long Beach providing speech-language services to adults with neurodegenerative diseases or brain injuries. She received her Bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego and her Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Chapman University. She is interested in further studying how speech-language pathologists and mental health professionals can collaborate to improve the quality of care provided to individuals with aphasia. In her free time, Christa enjoys being outdoors with her loved ones and three dogs.

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